News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This and That: A Random Scoot Through Reston News

  • The tax districts that will pay for the stations along Metro's Silver Line are one step closer to reality.
    Following a public hearing, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a proposed resolution to create the tax district. The board will meet Dec. 21 to formally establish the district, as required by state law.

    The additional real estate tax paid by commercial landowners in the proposed tax district will provide $330 million of the county's estimated $850 million share of the $5.28 billion total cost to extend Metrorail from Falls Church through Tysons Corner, Reston and Herndon to Washington Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.

    Another special tax district, which surrounds the future rail stations in Tysons Corner and at Wiehle Avenue in Reston, will generate about $400 million in commercial property taxes.

    The county has not finalized where the remaining $120 million will come from, but it could come from bonds backed by the county's commercial and industrial tax, an existing tax of 11 cents per $100 of assessed value that commercial landowners pay to a fund for county transportation projects.
    But what's a measly $120 million among friends?

  • Meanwhile, some of the people who live in the fancypants subdivisions along the Toll Road want new sound walls to protect their sylvan neighborhoods with names like "Hallcrest Heights" from the unsightly noise made by the train as it carries proles people past their homes -- though in reality, they should be more concerned about the smoke from the track fires. Of course, this isn't an issue in Reston proper, as the original Reston master plan forbids residential development along the Toll Road... at least until that plan is modified as part of the ongoing redevelopment deliberations. We're OK with that, so long as the new projects don't have dumb names like "Hallcrest Heights."

  • A Reston family is suing Virginia Tech over their son's 2007 suicide.
    The suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Friday by William and Elizabeth Kim, seeks $43 million from the university's Care Team in connection with the suicide of Daniel Kim, a senior at Tech at the time of his death.

    According to the filing, Daniel Kim committed suicide on Dec. 9, 2007, after telling friends and family members that he felt he physically resembled shooter Seung-Hui Cho and that he "was ashamed of being Asian." The suit claims that an online gaming friend, Shuan Pribush, who was a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, contacted Virginia Tech and warned them of Daniel Kim's suicidal tendencies about a month before Kim killed himself.

    Daniel Kim was a 2004 graduate of South Lakes High School in Reston.
    Regardless of the legal outcome, there are no winners in this case.

  • Fancypants venture capitalists from San Francisco bought Reston-based medical software firm QuadraMed for $126 million. And what did you do at work today?

  • A memorial service for Arts Council of Fairfax CEO Ann Rodriguez was held on Dec. 2.
    The "celebration," held at Reston Community Center's CenterStage theater and hosted by the Arts Council, was much like the longtime arts, business and civic leader herself -- joyous, genuine, heartfelt and fun.

    As an overflow crowd of hundreds of friends, family and colleagues awaited the formal start of the program --aptly held in Reston, a place where Rodriguez lived and "thrived" for 34 years -- a buoyant six-piece Dixieland band set the tone. At a later reception, a Mariachi ensemble represented another of Rodriguez's favorite musical genres.

  • There are a lot of depressing stories in this wrapup, so here's one that's slightly more optimistic: Fairfax County is expanding a power soccer league for wheelchair users that got its start last year in Reston.

  • The only shocking thing about this story is that it didn't happen in Reston:
    A Medal of Honor recipient in a dispute over his right to fly the American flag in his yard will have another week before D-Day -- when he'll be forced to take down the Stars and Stripes or face legal action.

    Ninety-year-old Col. Van T. Barfoot, a veteran of three wars, initially was given a 5 p.m. Friday deadline to dismantle his flagpole or face a legal battle over violating an order from his townhouse community association in Henrico County, Va.

    Barfoot, who fought in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, was told in July that he could not put up his freestanding flagpole in his Sussex Square neighborhood — but he installed it anyway.

    On Tuesday, he says, he got a letter from the homeowners' association telling him the 21-foot pole he erected in September violates the community's aesthetic guidelines.

    "This is not about the American flag. This is about a flagpole," the association said in a statement, insisting that Barfoot directly violated its board's July ruling.

    "Col. Barfoot is free to display the American flag in conformity with the neighborhood rules and restrictions. We are hopeful that Col. Barfoot will comply."
    How exactly are you supposed to display an American flag without a flagpole? The answer to that question will keep the DRB busy for weeks.


  1. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 10, 2009 at 6:43 AM

    Is it just me or do a disproportionately high number of tragedies befall Virginia Tech? I never heard about this many terrible stories emanating from Penn State when I lived in PA. My thoughts and prayers are with the Kim family. I happen to feel their $43,000,000 figure is exorbitant, but if it is to set a legal precedent then I am supportive of this. Why didn't the university notify the Kim family as soon as they learned from a concerned friend that their son was exhibiting suicidal tendencies so they could have intervened and tried to seek counseling for him? He may have ultimately ended his life anyways, but at least people could have done everything in their power to help. After now learning that many of the deceased in the VA Tech massacre could have been spared if the administration had bothered to notify the campus community in a more timely manner of an armed individual running loose instead of taking care of their own kin I'm seriously wondering about the caliber of leadership there. In terms of the woman who was slowly decapitated at a cafe there not long ago as well did the assault really happen THAT quickly that a group of bystanders couldn't have tackled the assailant and/or stabbed him themselves? I'm just waiting around, nervously, for the next tragic news story to arise from that campus resulting from negligence or inaction. I hope this doesn't happen, but at this point I'm concerned.

  2. Peasant From Less Sought After South RestonDecember 10, 2009 at 9:16 AM

    You may have seen in today's post that Col. Barfoot won the right to have his flagpole. After single-handedly taking on three Nazi tanks, I guess taking on the homeowners' association didn't exactly scare him.

    Good for him. I only wish he had lived in Reston and had taken on the DRB, because the national exposure his story got might have been quite the educational experience for our own design nannies.

  3. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 10, 2009 at 10:28 AM

    For God's sake once someone gets to be in their 90s shouldn't they be allowed to fly an American flag or paint their front door slightly off-beige if they so desire? It's not like they have many years left to live anyways, so why not let them go on enjoying life's simpler pleasures? I mean, would anyone enjoy saying "No" to 95-year-old town founder Bob Simon about anything at this point in his life?

  4. This thread made me think of a question that hadn't occurred to me until now: does Reston have any famous residents? Other that Bob Simon that is? There are many notable people who live in and around DC, including Vienna, McLean, etc. I'm wondering if there are any in Reston. The reason I ask is that if there was, they might be useful in drawing attention to a cause that is internal to Reston that might otherwise not be deemed very important to non-residents. Having that additional attention on something might motivate people to take care of certain issues. Yes, I'm being very vague and yes I'm sure you can figure out what I'm referring to!

  5. Broke in Charter Oak (BiCO)December 10, 2009 at 12:57 PM

    "Certain issues?" Do you mean the noticeable lack of sidewalks and streetlights in Reston (ducks as knuckle duster throws a shoe at his head!) :-)

  6. The Convict in the GulagDecember 10, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    The Tech. Sgt. Barfoot single-handedly eliminated three emplaced machine gun positions killing at least 5 Germans and capturing 17 more, destroyed a German field artillery piece and took on three Tiger tanks, destroying one and killing its crew while causing to the other two to wet their pants and flee like scared school children. For this, the guy recieved the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    It looks like the hicks in the HOA in Henrico county chose the wrong guy to pick a fight with. Col. Barfoot, sir, you have my undying respect.

  7. Suing VT? I would ordinarily be sympathetic to parents who lose a kid. But sometime you gotta' take responsibility for your own problems. How is Tech responsible to act on gosip? "Not wrapped too tight," describes most of the science geeks I studied with in college. I doubt Daniel Kim stood out as nutty enough to be a danger to himself or others.

    I hope VT countersues, and takes whatever sleazy shyster that represents the Kims for a bundle.

  8. Scubadiver you are right the parents are just looking for money is not VA Tech fault. I don’t understand why we can’t let people just kill them self. Hey, they want to. Plus, according to the global warming scientist in Copenhagen, they are just to many people in this world! That pollute it by releasing carbon dioxide when they fart and breath.

  9. He didn't have suicidal tendencies. He had rage built up from years of his social difficulties/anxieties. The family had been taking him to counselors and pastors from a very young age. He seemed to be able to function in the classroom. They would've been better off to send him to George Mason and have him commute to class so they could keep an eye on him.

  10. My sincere condolences to the Kims. I went to school with Daniel when I was young and remember him as a nice guy. It pains me to only hear about his suicide just now...and I had no idea he was so troubled.

    I ask that you all treat his memory with respect, regardless of what else you may think.


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